Thursday, July 31, 2014

Random Miscellaneous Info and Pics

Lets start with this video. I am so proud of my boy! Archery run with JB. 

Note: the video plays a little weird like it's in slow motion but it's kinda cool anyways. I couldn't fix it , it probably has something to do with the fact that it was from my phone. In case you can't get it to play, please bear with me while I try to work out the technical issues and enjoy the two photos below of  little JB getting warmed up prior to his archery runs.

Now onto other non-horse stuff, because that is all I have to share for horse stuff right now.. Hopefully more soon..

Glacier Park - 4th of July - 
Because Glacier National Park never gets old and June, July , August and September are the reasons I live in this place..

We took my parents to the Two Medicine area of Glacier Park. They had never been in that area. It was pretty special because my mom actually hiked back to the falls. It wasn't much of a hike but it was a long ways for her. I was pretty proud of her for making it .
That is a young bull Moose grazing in the pond. 

East side of Glacier Park

The Falls, I really had to resist the urge to running through it.. it was way to cold anyways.

More falls, it's so pretty

Bear Grass just beginning to bloom

The intrepid hikers , going back from the falls

Two Medicine Lake , Sinopah Mountain, our view while having lunch.. the wind was immense coming off the lake

Looking down on Two Medicine Lake from the upper road

Gardening Progress

The garden isn't much to write home about this season. I am not entirely sure what the issue is but even the spinach and kale was pathetic. Generally, it's pretty hard to mess up growing spinach and kale but this year, as soon as it was big enough to start cutting, (actually even before that) it was bolting. Bad seed? not sure.. it was last years seed. It did fine last year. Seed should last more than one year. Don't you think?  None of my garlic seems to have made it. Carrots were off to a slow start but have picked up steam in the last few weeks. The strawberries did fantastic this year and the onions look promising as well. Last year I had a great onion harvest, only to lose them to mold in the fridge over the winter. ALL of them.. apparently , the crisper isn't the place to store onions.. I was given bad advice and knew better too...lesson learned. 

On the other hand , the herb garden was off to a great start and really taking off ..that is ...until Duncan decided to excavate. 

I found him shoulder deep in the fresh , just watered the night before , black dirt. By the time I got curious enough to look around the corner ( I was planting the tomatoes and peppers on the other side of the house) to see why he was carrying on so much with his happy bark, he had managed to have all three basil plants pulled up, a lavendar plant broken and the parley in shambles. I could not believe it..

After telling him how bad he was  and fighting the urge to want to strangle him, I put together what I could. The basil took the worst of it but has managed to survive. It's a little anemic looking but growing.. I did manage to harvest enough off of  two plants to make some fantastic pesto. Every year, I make pesto and that is all I want for days on end. If a person could founder on something, pesto would be it for me. I eat it on everything from carrots to pepper , burgers to chicken and even roasted potatoes. Nothing is safe from a few dollops of pesto on it as long as I have basil to make it with. I try to resist the urge from plucking the plants too often but its really addicting..It's kind of like the poem of The Giving Tree by Silverstein..

Pesto founder.. its a real thing... but only with homemade pesto. No basil plant is safe around here. I just wish I had my own garlic to use with it.. 

Today I pulled down the Oregano that had been drying for a couple of weeks and separated the leaves from the stems and  put it in jars. I should have enough to get me through most of the winter and I would guess that I will probably have more to pick and dry in late August.I love drying herbs and putting them away for the season. It's a good feeling to be able to have your own food that you can store and use later. 

Today I also took care of the Rhubarb. It's was a little over due but I ended up with just over 8 lbs of the stuff. Most of it will go for Apple Rhubarb Wine that we will make. It's fanstastic.. almost tastes like a really good Chardonney. I might have to dig out some of the strawberries I froze and make atleast one strawberry Rhubarb crisp.. it's a seasonal must. 

Rhubarb 1yut.jpg
Photo shamelessly borrowed from Wiki...

Harvesting rhubarb always reminds me of times I spent as a child with my Uncle and his garden. It was one of my favorite treats to go pick a stalk and dip it in sugar. The thought of doing that now makes my cheeks pucker but I have lots of great memories of my Uncle's garden. I think he and my grandfather were who instilled the love of gardening and growing good food  in me. 

SKINCARE (bear with me, it's sort of related to horses and endurance)

Gardening means spending time outdoors and spending time outdoors in warm dry weather here in Montana also means extra precautions with skin care. Whether your gardening , or as in the case of what we are all here in horsey blogosphere for... RIDING HORSES.... lets face it,  we get dirty and exposed to alot of sun. I am not in my 20's anymore and I am alot more careful with my skin, especially on my face. Being of Italian descent, I don't really burn easily,  but like any other woman in her mid (ok ....late )30's, wrinkles are something that I am more aware of. My skin routine is definitely more "involved" and have you looked at the prices of some of that stuff?? If I can find a more economical alternative and it saves me steps or time I am all for it.   I recently found some great DIY skin care treatments that helps me get through the season. Both  are all natural and can be made at home without alot of fuss. 

DIY Baking Soda Exfoliation

Place a tablespoon of Baking soda in palm of your handAdd a little water to make a loose paste Massage into your skin with gentle circular motions (Never Scrub!)You only want to rid yourself of the dead layer of skin, not damage the new layer underneath. This process should never hurt, if it’s hurting try less pressure.

As always, if you notice any discomfort rinse off immediately. Facial treatments are an individual thing so you can always try this on your hands first to see how you might react.  I have pretty sensitive skin and have had no issues.

Thats it.. Done.. 

If your skin is really hammered, hard worked, dried up , burned or just  in  need of a little extra treatment.. I often use clear Aloe Vera Gel for a quick fix or if I have some extra time,  try this on for size..

DIY Homemade Pineapple Facial

Take a small piece of pineapple. 
Rub all over yoru face(your going to feel weird doing this.. )
Be careful not to get Pineapple  juice in your eye but I think that goes without saying..
Wait 5-10 minutes until the mask dries.
Once dry, jump in the shower to rinse  off with hot steamy water for a good steam treatment.

I usually follow the Pineapple treatment with a baking soda exfoliation - When I’m in a hurry, one or the other treatment is still really effective on their own. 

Follow either treatment with your choice of moisturizer.

All in all this treatment requires no more than one minute to put on your face, making it really nice for those of us with alot of other crap to do, like ride a horse and get diry all over again.

So there you have it, my totally random , mostly unrelated post about "stuff" . I hope you are all out riding, enjoying the outdoors and getting dirty.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Clinic Weekend and Horseback Archery

This weekend, Tom had another one of his Western Dressage Clinics he has been putting on for the summer. It's been going well. There is so much to learn for everyone. Tom has really enjoyed being able to combine two  things he loves, Horses and Teaching. This particular clinic was less of a clinic atmosphere but more of a half  day of private lessons. Afterwards,  then he was planning to go to our friends ranch for the remainder of the weekend to work on getting both the horses and the new mechanized target ready for the upcoming August competition. Earlier this spring, they had to install a target that is mechanized to follow the horse/rider as they run down the track. There was some work Tom needed to do on it yet. He also wanted to get all the horses slated for the competition onto  the actual competition track prior to day of the competition.

Although he has been training at our home track,  it's not  near as nice as the real thing. JB will be competing for the first time in August,  Rebel has competed before but it's been a few years.  Tom wanted to take them for a "Dry run"  to make sure they were all good to go for other riders to compete on.

In spite of the fact  that I had just barely gotten unpacked from San Francisco,  I would repack and tag along. The thought of staying home just didn't appeal to me. Tom was planning to bring all three geldings with him anyways and it was easy enough to throw the dogs in the truck. The cat was on his own again for a couple of days and I was able to get my parents to water the garden and check on the cat.

The clinic on Saturday went very well. I was on camera duty and did the best I could with snapping photos even though I was being attacked by yellow jackets. They were really bad and very aggressive and apparently liked my shampoo or something. Somehow I didn't get stung but withstood 4 hours of being divebombed.

Demonstrating something..(Brego pictured)
After the clinic was over, we went to our friends ranch for the remainder of the weekend. I helped ride one of the six horses that will be used for the competition. It's pretty fun to let a horse gallop down a 90 meter track and drop the reins. I didn't actually shoot a bow but just did a little tuning on old Roman to make sure all systems were a go. He was perfect.. but he always is. :)

More exciting is that it looks like Tom will be able to compete (finally) off of his gelding Brego. He has been working very hard to get him ready this year.  Brego,who you have read about before on this blog (here is one post)  has been a challenge. But, it looks like he is finally there. That frees up Tom's other gelding Cassidy for another rider.

It was a good weekend and I even rode.. which wasn't awful..

We head back home this afternoon , with horses and dogs in tow.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I just got back from a pretty amazing vacation to San Francisco and Napa Valley so I am adjusting to hitting the ground running and getting back into the swing of things back home again.  I have never been to SF and this was our first real vacation in over two years that didn't have something to do with horseback archery or endurance so it was a real treat.

Our original plan was to go for a Charcuterie class (that is a whole other chapter or blog) in Napa  but we decided to  make it a week since we were going. The class was great . Learned a ton and got to sample and make some pretty amazing salty pig bits.

The first day we arrived we drove from San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge and did the walk across it.  Somehow, we managed to not get run over by the many bicyclists that also share the walkway, which seemed like a small miracle. Most  looked like they had not been on a bike in years but decided it would be cool to rent a bike and ride the bridge, putting themselves and many others at risk. From there, we mozied onto the town of Saucilito where we had lunch at The Barrell Room .  I had the most amazing Kale and Stone Fruit salad, while enjoying a view of the bay. I did have one small mishap here when we were first seated. A pigeon attacked me and just about knocked my sunglasses out of my hands and into the bay. Apparenly, he needed some shades. We were seated on the stools overlooking the bay which was really nice. I miss the ocean so anytime I can soak up sights and sounds of the ocean, this is a happy girl. We did have some additional moments of entertainment  while waiting for the food, (if the Pigeon incident wasn't enough) Apparently, an odd looking boat with no identifying stickers and painted dark green had entered the bay and was being escorted in by the Navy. It looked like some Russian war ship..  and it definitely got the attention of the authorities.. Not sure what happened but it was fun to imagine what might be going on. It must have been nothing too major because I never saw anything in the news about it. Probably some guy who decided to build his own boat and lost on a dare with some buddies to drive it into the bay just to see what happens..

After lunch, we walked around Saucilito  and saw what there was to see, We again, had to dodge more unbalanced bikers and witnessed two wrecks. Can't people ride bikes at home?? What is the draw to do it in strange , narrow roads?

We eventually made our way to our hotel in Vallejo. I was bummed to find out their pool was  in the midst of deconstruction for a future update. So much for lounging by a pool for this trip.

We spent the next day taking the Baylink Ferry to SF, doing the Fishermans Wharf  and seeing all the typical touristy type attactions like Lombard Street , the Pink Ladies and the Trolley. I really really really wanted to see Alcatraz but had been trying to get a ticket for months with no luck. Apparently, you have to buy tickets 4-6 months ahead of time. Nonetheless there was enough sights to take in . By the end of the day, we were exhausted because we walked ALL day along all the Piers and the streets of SF . We planned to take the trolley car back to the ferry building but they were all full so , we had to walk .. again.. from Pier 39 to the ferry building, only to wait in line for 45 minutes for the ferry. By the time the we made it back, my lower back and feet were pretty well done for.

We spent the remaining time going into Napa Valley  and visited three wineries. Castello Di Amorosa, Mondavi and Sutter Home. We did the Castle tour and it was totally worth it. I highly recommend it but be forewarned, the other wineries will pale in comparison so do this one last if you have several you are planning to tour and visit.  My favorite town in the Napa Valley had to be Yountville, (I must clarify, pronounced YONTVILLE, not YOONTVILLE) mostly because of the Bouchon Bakery (OMG is all I can say) but partly because it was just buzzing with excitement and fun shops, even if everything was ridiculously overpriced. Lots of money floating around that Napa Valley area and attitudes to go with it but it was fun just the same.
One of the other highlights of the trip was getting to see Jack Londons (author most widely known from the book White Fang) estate, It is his old home/farmstead that has been turned into a State Park.  We spent the majority of the day here, hiking around the ruins, reading the history, seeing the sites, staring at Eucalyptus trees  and realizing Jack London was  far more  interesting man than most people probably realize.  He was way ahead of his time when it came to farming, animal husbandry and machinery. I really had no idea. If your ever near Sonoma, it's worth the extra drive to hunt this place out . Sonoma was not at all what I expected..Not much going on there at all except a few Spa Hotels and one the day we came through,  the fundraising 5K race.  Oh, and it did have a Whole Foods market so that was a nice treat if your on the hunt for something to eat. It is a sleepy little town but it did have more of a commerce feel than Napa.I am not sure what someone would do there if they were staying for any length of time. I would have gone mad myself.

 Overall, the vacation was great but I was ready to get home. 6 days is enough to be gone. I think one of  the best parts about going on vacation is the renewed appreciation of what we have here at home. We really have a great home and get to live in a great place. Sometimes I forget. The royal welcome from the puppies is always my favorite part!

So while I adjust back to "real " life, I am  also adjusting to other things as well. It's been several weeks since Maggie has left Acer Farm..No actual "main riding horse"  here for me anymore.   It's weird. But Maggie is doing well in her new home. She is now called Archer by  her new owner and if your interested you can read all about their adventures here on their new blog. They have a couple of Lippitt Morgans now and a rescue mare they are working with named Thistle. Its pretty cool to read what they have been able to accomplish with her.

 I am trying to add  their blog address  to my blog roll but Google isn't liking the address. I will try to resolve that issue when I have more time. 

I am not completely horseless however.  I still have my old boy Rebel and ofcourse there is JB. Both  are being worked routinely by Tom for horseback archery. Thank goodness. I am so happy that both have a purpose that they seem to enjoy. I have ridden only a couple of times, once on the trail with Rebel and once with JB around the place here.

A hobby and passion that has defined who I am for the better part of my entire 38 years ,  now just doesn't seem all that much of a priority. It's somewhat alarming because I can't make logical sense of it but I am trying to just go with it. Tom is being patient with me, encouraging me to ride when it seems right, but never pushing. I can't explain what this all is. It might pass. It might not. Either way, it's fine. There are other interests to pursue that I have never wholly committed to because the horses always came first. Possibly, I just need to dabble in some of those other things for a while, test other waters. See what else is out there. Somehow, learn not to put so much pressure on me or my horses . The horses will always be there.

That all being said, being down to four head and back to all geldings again is not without it's perks. We  were able to run everyone together for a few days, until Brego started being a jerk again and walloped poor Rebel in the ribs , leaving a nice swollen hematoma brand in the shape of a hoof. Thankfully Brego is barefoot in the back.
Brego and Maggie worked perfectly together. For now, Brego is back to isolation in the north pasture and not happy about it. Too bad .. I can't have him beating up on the senior citizens around here.We will try again in a couple weeks.

With JB and Rebel getting worked regularly for the upcoming archery competition in August, I don't have any stress placed on me to get them exercised. I have to admit, it's kind of nice.

Both have been used in the past for horseback archery but it's been a few years. JB is hilarious to watch. He is so weak in the hind quarters that he really canters funny. Funnier than normal. He has never had a good canter because no mater what , he insists on pulling himself instead of driving with his hind end. It was only exacerbated after his accident but he manages. Tom has been doing some concerted work to help him get in touch with his hind end. It seems to be helping. Before we left for vacation, JB had some canters that looked like he was actually reaching with the front end , and his tail was no longer twirling in a circle with every stride.  He looked way more comfortable for Tom to ride and shoot from. He looked way more comfortable with the canter all around so I think he just needs more time to built more strength and he will be just fine.

As for Rebel , as old as he is, about 26 now, still goes through his shenanigans. He still likes to get up and run and even let out the occasional buck. His lethargy , poor body condition and tripping from last year seems to have all but resolved themselves with a different saddle , senior feed and MSM. He is still going strong and continues to turn in some pretty fast times on the track. He is my old man who will have a home here as long as he wants to stick around.

Everything seems to be falling in place and humming along. I might not be posting much about endurance in the months to come,  but I will still be following along all of your blogs. I will say ,  in all honesty, that if someone asked me if I wanted to ride their conditioned experienced endurance horse in a 50, they probably wouldn't have to twist my arm too much for a yes..

Just sayin....